Editor’s note: The Rivivalists’ rise has always included love from Lake Tahoe-area music fans. The New Orleans band rocked the High Sierra Music Festival in 2013 and was a headliner at the 2015 Brews, Jazz and Funkfest at Squaw Valley. It will headline Friday at the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room as part of a four-month, 32-show “Still Feeling Good From Yesterday Tour.” Con Brio will open at 9 p.m. Hibbity Dibbity will play the free Red Room after-party. The show sold out on Tuesday. Below is a Tahoe Onstage story posted in March 2016, just before its last appearance at Crystal Bay.
The road is where music careers are made and New Orleans’ The Revivalists is a band building its future show by show.
The seven-piece roots-rock powerhouse is at the tail end of a West Coast run that will bring it to the shores of Lake Tahoe at the Crystal Bay Casino. The band had just pulled into balmy Portland, Oregon, when Tahoe Onstage was able to catch up with drummer Andrew Campanelli on the phone to talk about the band’s life on the road. With all the good food and beer to be had in Portland, Campanelli appreciated the downtime before the next show. It was also a good chance to tip his cap to the hard work and fun the band has had on this tour.
“The whole thing has been going really well,” Campanelli said. “We had a show at the Ogden (Theatre) in Denver that was just a great show. Probably our best show in Denver to date. The crowd was just crazy, it was a lot of fun.”
The band is riding a wave of success since last year’s release of “Men Against Mountains.” The album is sharp and focused, indicative of David Shaw (vocals), Zack Feinberg (guitar), Ed Williams (pedal steel guitar), Rob Ingraham (saxophone), George Gekas (bass), Michael Girardot (keys, trumpets) and Campanelli’s wide-eyed approach to music. It exists in a beautiful gumbo of rock, Americana and soul that can only come from a place such as New Orleans. The band relentlessly has been touring this past year, and Campanelli was grateful to be playing on a slightly different plane that increased attention for the band
“On our days off we get to say, ‘Hey we have this time off because things are going OK.’ ”
The excitement of playing in front of live crowds works its way back into the music and the writing, he said. “And to me and a lot of people it is really the most fun part, the writing.
“It has been great the last year or so, but a particular highlight was we got to play Red Rocks. That was really good. We played with Michael Franti and J.J. Grey and it was a good fun time. We’ve played a lot of shows with J.J. before so it was good to play there with them,” Campanelli said.
The band’s success has not been some fortuitous rogue wave of popularity, but a nine-year scrap for each show it has played. The Revivalists formed in 2007 with the intent of perfecting a high-intensity live show that knocked people on their asses. With ticket sales being the way most bands are able to make a living, especially since the beginning of the downloading age of music in the new millennium, the band believed knockout live shows had to be a part of their identity.
“I sort of look at it as we were a band that started after (rise of downloading music) was done,” Campanelli said. “Our whole intention from the beginning was to tour. Playing shows and being in a live band was our goal. Especially in the beginning, it was the only way for us to get out there because there was no record deal or radio play. There was no other way to get your music out there than to take it yourself.
“You can’t have this band without the live side. We love songs and we love the art of recording and going into the studio, which is its own instrument in a completely different way. But this band wouldn’t have come this far without focusing on being a live band and really enjoying and perfecting that side. Not to say we’ve perfected it cause we are still working on it, but it is completely integrated into who the band is,” Campanelli said
Campanelli credited the band’s live show to a diligent work ethic that never allows resting on its laurels. The musicians enjoy their breaks on tour and have luckily reached a place where time off is a way to recharge their batteries and enjoy their surroundings on the road. In addition to an occasional private show, the boys are packing their lunch boxed and clocking in at rehearsals like any blue-collar band sharpening its chops.
“Everybody takes it very seriously so you have to be on top of your own game and actively pursuing being better,” Campanelli said. “You also have to be listening to everyone else because it is a big band with a lot of moving parts. It is all about if we feel like we’ve played well together, that is kind of how we gauge it by. How together are we playing?
When we are off the road we practice pretty regularly. We used to go 11 to 4 everyday when we were off the road and in recent years that has kind of fell off a little bit because of the touring. But we look at it as this is what we do. We take time to relax after longer tours but then we get back to it everyday. So if it doesn’t go as planned, you just get back to work.”
Campanelli said the band will fly out of Las Vegas the day after its show at the Crystal Bay Casino to get back to New Orleans, but members wish they had time to stay in Tahoe a while to enjoy the snow. While the band can’t stay to party with all the powderhounds on the slopes Campanelli did provide a playlist of Revivalists songs that would be great to keep people groovin down the slopes, citing “Wish I Knew You,” “All In The Family,” “Gold To Glass,” and “Criminal” as choice cuts. Snow will be the last thing on the band’s mind as it returns to New Orleans and thinks about the road ahead, one show at a time.
- The Revivalists
Opener: Con Brio
Red Room after-party: Hibbity Dibbity
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
Tickets: Sold out